Freckles in April: June 2013

Sunday, June 30, 2013

From the Archives: Mangled

I was shaving my legs the other day and trying to remember where I got this weird faint scar down my shin. And then I remembered. It was almost exactly three years ago and it's definitely one of my weirder injuries.


I'm making tomatillo sauce for chicken tacos tonight and thought the paper skins were so pretty, like green flowers.

But you see that big old jar of water back there? That's my super-sized water cup for today. Because it is ridiculously hot outside and I? I am wearing pants.

I am wearing pants because my leg has been mangled.

My leg was mangled by...yogurt.

I went to the grocery store last week and remembered that Stinky has been begging for yogurt lately (he also begs for broccoli and carrots. And to read the scriptures. And I'm trying to decide if this bodes well for the teenage years or if I should be hunkering down and preparing for the storm) so I grabbed one of those big tubs and set it in the vacant baby seat because the rest of my cart was quite full. And then it fell through the leg hole and the (vicious!) sharp edges of the plastic lid took a huge swath of my shin with it on the way down.

It looked pretty horrific. As I limped my way to the check-out I got a lot of, "Oh my gosh, are you OK?" A couple concerned women asked what happened. "See that bloodied tub of yogurt right there?" Confused nods. "It attacked my leg." More confused nods.

It's almost a week later and it still looks pretty ugly. I had to wear a long dress to church yesterday because I didn't want to have to explain how I was attacked by yogurt via my own idiocy to everyone who saw the 5 inch gash down my shin. It's just one of those stories that's difficult to explain without people thinking you're crazy, you know?

So here I am. In long pants. Bitterly eating yogurt.

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Friday, June 28, 2013

On Hold

We're at a weird, in-between stage of life. We have two kids and we know we want one more, which feels a bit like being put on hold on the phone, but the hold music is super pleasant and you're not sure you're ready to be taken OFF hold, you know?

About six months after Baby 2 was born we decided it was time for a new car. Two adults plus two car seats meant we were a bit squeezed in my little 4-door sedan and we were ready to graduate to something with more room. Bigger, but not all the way to a minivan or, heaven forbid, an SUV (Aaron is morally opposed. Don't get him started).

I did research. There were extensive spreadsheets involved. We ended up test-driving two and hating one. And thus we bought a Kia Sorento.

Campin' with the Kia
I'll be honest...30 Rock did factor at least partially into our car decision. There's this one episode where Jack and Liz go to Stone Mountain, Georgia on business and, after getting verbally assaulted in a bar, Jack stands up and says, "Come, Lemon! To the Kia Sorento!" And, obviously, we (I) have to work that one in as often as possible.

"Come, Aaron! To the Kia Sorento!"

"Come children! To the Kia Sorento!"

"Come groceries, to the Kia Sorento!"

We really do love it though. It's perfect for where we're at in life. There's plenty of room for both my kids plus a friend in the middle (if I'm feeling like the fun mom who lets her kids bring a friend places). And knowing I can fit three kids back there makes me feel all kinds of prepared for when the hold music comes to an end.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

DIY Faux Studs

This is a sponsored post. However, I took it on because I had the half-baked idea floating around in my brain anyway (thanks, Universe, for pulling that one together!). Click here to view my full sponsorship and disclosure policy.

My mom has always been a crafter. When the Loma Prieta quake of '89 happened we were living in the Bay Area. I remember my dad was watching the World Series and my mom? My mom was in the kitchen making earrings (and then we all stood in the doorway and watched my dad's gray El Camino rock back and forth). Throughout my childhood most of our back room was filled with crafty things; bits of wood dowel, hot glue sticks, fabric scraps, jump rings and, oh yes, there was Tulip puff paint.

If you didn't own a puff-painted sweatshirt in the late 80s/early 90s then you missed out on a fundamental coming-of-age experience. Check out this hilarious video. I had ALL these things-

I grew up using puff paint and I don't know that I ever really outgrew it. I always have some in the house. You know. In the event of painting emergencies.

Like when I'm struck with an idea for painting faux studs.

This is a super fast and easy DIY. Excluding drying time it took me less than 10 minutes (and I was taking pictures!). It's one of those quick and satisfying projects you can accomplish during nap time (...if your kids still nap) (I hate you).

You'll need:
-A top, tee or some other painting surface
-Freezer paper
-Tulip Soft and 3D Paints (I went for Tulip's metallic gold, which I LOVE)
-A pin
-A napkin or paper towel

First, get some practice in.

Practice practice practice! Also, yes, I am aware that my nail polish is in need of some attention.

Then, cut out a piece of freezer paper and iron it to the BACK side of your work area.

Mine was a bit squirrely thanks to the shoulder gathering but I just pushed the pleats up and out of the way and got my paper nicely ironed down.

Then, turn your shirt right side out.

I used a pencil and a quilting ruler to lightly mark where I wanted my studs. The pencil actually worked out really well. I made a wonky mark and had no trouble erasing it.

Many years of experience have taught me that a clogged puff paint tip is the quickest way to ruin a project. Stick a pin in the tip to clear it of any dried paint then give it a good wiping with a napkin or paper towel. Put the lid back on and shake shake shake.

Then, get painting!

Being left handed, I started at the top right and worked left and down. It kept me from running my hand through my pretty dots. Not that I've done that before...

Let it dry!

Beads like this take a little longer to dry than if you had done a thin layer of paint. The bottle says let it dry flat at least 4 hours. Mine seemed quite dry after only an hour but I left it overnight just to be on the safe side. Don't wash for at least 72 hours and be sure to turn it inside out before throwing it in the washing machine. Also, you're probably better off letting anything you've painted air-dry rather than sticking it in the dryer (the heat may crack your paint).

After your paint is nice and dry, pull off the freezer paper and wear away!

When Aaron saw my top he said, "Oh, that's a nice shirt. I like the spikes!" I replied, "Thanks! They're actually paint." He didn't believe me until he poked at them. Mission accomplished.

Shirt via Marshalls, undershirt from DEB, F21 jeans, American Eagle necklace, American Eagle shoes via Payless

Visit Tulip and enter to win an iPad Mini and Tie Dye Party! Or check them out at:

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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Runway in the Factory: Fashion's Unheard Voices

During my freshman year of college I met some amazing people who have since gone on to do some mind-blowing things in the world. Thelma, a dear friend, spent several years living in Burma working with the people on the Thai-Burma border. She's currently getting ready to go back there.

Yesterday she sent out an email announcing that she has a project on Kickstarter- a "'pop-up' online fashion magazine that features the perspectives and voices of garment workers in Southeast show how fashion can be found in unexpected places."

I think that, in light of the recent factory collapse in Bangladesh that killed over 1100 people, this project is especially important. Let's give the factory workers a voice.

Visit Thelma's Kickstarter page and donate right here.

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Monday, June 24, 2013

Blog Therapy | How to Add a Post Footer

A post footer is a useful thing. It's a great place to market your social media accounts, redirect readers to current giveaways or popular posts, encourage new visitors to subscribe, etc. Some people also use it to insert a signature at the end of each post.

It's super easy to install a post footer (and update it periodically, if you'd like):

Go to your Dashboard > Settings > Posts and comments. In the "Post Template" box add in your footer code.

Anything in this box will have to be formatted with HTML. I give you permission to use the cheater way- write out what you want in the "compose" window of a new blog post then click over to the "HTML" tab and copy the HTML. Easy Peasy. Alternatively, you can use W3 Schools to look up code snippets if you're feeling adventurous and would like to write your own.

Here's what I've got in my template box:

I like to include a break <br /> at the very top so I've got wiggle room to start my post above my footer. I follow that with a line (in HTML language it's called a horizontal rule <hr />). Then, I've got a list <li> < /li> of all my social media accounts.

This is what my code looks like:

<br />
<hr />
<i>You can also find me on:
</i><br />
<li><i><a href="!/FrecklesinApril">Twitter</a></i></li>
<li><i><a href="">Facebook</a></i></li>
<li><i><a href="">Pinterest</a></i></li>
<li><i><a href="">Instagram</a></i></li>

When I go to create a new post, it looks like this-

I could type that in every time I create a post...but why? Also, you could get fancy and create an image map of your social media or whatever. It's on my to-do list, but...oh look, something shiny!

Questions? Leave 'em in the comments.

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Sunday, June 23, 2013

Grace and Milkshakes

My mom

When I was 5, my pregnant mom and her good friend, Lonnie,  took my 4-year-old sister and I to Ardenwood Farm while my dad went water-skiing with a group of guy friends. After a couple hours, we passed a bright sticky note that said Kepi Peterson please see docent. So she found a worker and pointed to the note, saying, “That’s me!”

Cell phones were very rare in 1990 and Ardenwood is a working farm with no phones anywhere except at the office. The worker told my mom that there was a family emergency and she needed to go to the office phone. We worked our way there and they told us someone had been trying to get a hold of my mom and they would call again in just a few minutes.
A family friend called and explained that my dad had been in an accident. It was bad but "he'll live." He'd been airlifted to the hospital. The details were sketchy and my mom was confused but hopped in the car so Lonnie could drive her to the hospital.

In the ER my dad's face was hardly visible between bandages. He had been waterskiing down a narrow channel and cut too wide. He hit the jagged rocks along the side and went down. Onto his face.

He had a couple reconstructive facial surgeries during his week in the hospital before he was able to come home. His jaws were wired shut for 7 weeks and he lost 20 lbs. For his 30th birthday my mom threw him a milkshake party.

At the time, my dad worked construction. If he didn't work, he didn't get paid. After his accident, my dad couldn't work for 3 months. 

As a 5-year-old child I knew what had happened to my dad was scary but, obviously, did not grasp the full significance. For one of his surgeries they shaved off only half his mustache (like he'd want to keep the other half?), which was kind of funny to me. Plus: daddy was home every day for what seemed like forever. We had milkshakes for his birthday! It was kind of awesome.

A few weeks post accident. Mustache-less, jaws wired shut and a little banged up. But alive! Which is how we like him.

NOW, as a mother, I can't even fathom how my mom held herself together during that time. She had two children, with another one on the way, and a seriously banged up husband. They had no income for 3 months. I have a distinct memory of going to our church to get food and a man handing my mom a loaf of bread.

I'm sure my mom had her moments of tears, nights when she couldn't sleep, days when the worry was all-consuming. But I never saw any of that. Somehow, she made life continue on as normal.

Many years later, I talked to my dad about the accident. He said it was one of the best things to ever happen to their marriage. Having three months to just spend time with each other and with us girls allowed them to build a rock-solid foundation that has safely weathered many of life's storms since then.

Still mushily in love.

There have been a few times as an adult that I've had to remind myself that my mom had it so much worse. Whatever hard thing I'm facing? Suck it up, Kayla. If she came through that experience with grace, milkshakes and a smile then I can too.

Post sponsored by NestlĂ©® Pure Life®. Celebrating the pure wisdom that our mothers share with us and how they help us stay healthy and hydrated (my mom was awesome about pushing water on us after we moved to Arizona. I can fully credit her with my crazy water drinking habit).

Click here to visit their Facebook page and share your mom's wisdom!

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Friday, June 21, 2013

Summer Reading

It's officially the first day of summer! If you're in need of a little beach or poolside reading material, here are some of my favs:

1. If you want to be happier:

This one came as a recommendation from Janssen and I am so glad I picked it up. I kept jotting notes on a scrap of paper by my bed, things I wanted to try, tips I needed to remember. It really did help me be happier at home!

2. If you love YA and are ok with awkward crushes on fictional teenage boys:

I reread this one recently in preparation for the movie* (comes out 2 months from today!) and died all over again. The female protagonist is strong, smart and capable (NOT BELLA). Her love interest is snarky and kind of like a goth homeschooled kid (you have to read to see what I mean). The supporting cast is lots of fun. AND! It's a series! If you're the type of person who prefers the story to go on and on, this is a good starting place. There are currently 5 books with another slated to come out in 2014.

*they better not screw up Jace, or SO HELP ME.

3. If you want to be deeply inspired:

I kind of don't know what to even say about this book. The author wrote a memoir and was approached by Hollywood about turning it into a movie. In the process of writing the movie script, he got to "rewrite his story" and his thoughts on being able to rewrite his life and the applications to my own life are...amazing. Just read it, ok?

4. If you love food: 

This book was what I hoped the "Eat" section of Eat, Pray, Love would be. Sumptuous descriptions of food interwoven with funny, heartwarming, fascinating tales from the life of a NY Times food critic (who often went out to eat in disguise!). I ate it up.*

*ha. haha. 

5. If you are a fan of classics and sharp, witty writing: 

I got this book for my brother for Christmas a couple years ago and ended up stealing it right back. If you love the Sherlock Holmes of the movies and BBC (oh, Benedict), you will love him just as much on the page.

What are you summer reading recommendations? Let's hear 'em!

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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Covering My Assets

My parents spent Father's Day weekend in Florida jet skiing with dolphins and taking pictures of baby manatees. You know...the usual.

On Saturday my mom texted my sister and me-

Mom: "I don't recall ever seeing so many women just walking around town in bikinis."

Nikki: "I'm not even comfortable walking around in a bikini my own house."

We are a shy lot.

My current swimsuit cover-up is a dress I bought on clearance a few years ago at Kohl's. It works quite well but with the sun and chlorine and being shoved in suitcases, it's definitely starting to look a little worse for the wear. Here are a few cover-ups (all under $50!) I wouldn't mind picking up this summer-

ONE | My shoulders are by far my most burn-prone area, so I like a little shoulder coverage!

TWO | Linen! The quintessential summer fabric. I love this shape too. It's a little more forgiving. And heaven knows that's something I need when wearing a swimsuit.

THREE | I had a pair of pants just like this when I was a teenager. I LOVED them.

FOUR | Oh, J. Crew. The things you do.

FIVE | Can't you imagine this with a big hat and great pair of sunglasses?

SIX | Ummm I love this. Plus: $15!!

SEVEN | The infamous VS wrap. Because, obviously.

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Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Fathers in My Life

I'm surrounded by awesome fathers.


Aaron works from home but he's always willing to take a couple minutes out of the middle of the day to snuggle with our boys or take a look at the block tower they've been building all morning. He throws them around, much to their delight, and sings Twinkle Twinkle Little Star on request. He sits down to draw with them and doesn't get mad when Baby 2 scribbles all over his masterpieces.

My dad is awesome.
With Stinky, his first grandbaby! (2008)
My dad was the kind of dad who gave horsey rides and danced with his daughters to Tom Petty. He cried when I told him I was pregnant. He took more pictures and video than I did of that kid's first year of life. My boys adore him as much as I do.

Aaron's dad (also with Stinky, also his first grandbaby)

I know Aaron's dad was an amazing father because of how Aaron turned out. And now he's the type of grandfather who keeps change in his pockets because my boys love to "steal" it. He lets my boys climb all over him in the pool and buys them way too many toys at Christmastime. My boys often declare him (and Grandma Sharan) their best friend.

To the wonderful men in my life: Happy Father's Day!

This post is part of a promotion with FamilySearch.

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Friday, June 14, 2013

Out for a Spin: Feed Readers

I'm so stoked to introduce a new series! Every month Janssen and I will test drive a product/app/etc. in search of things that will make our (and your!) lives prettier and easier.

This month we each tried out different feed readers. When that little pop-up message stating that Google Reader would no longer be available as of July 1st made it's appearance I think the whole internet went, "Wait...what?!?"

And then there was the panic. The scramble to find other options. The alternative feed reader roundup posts.

I'm a little late to the game with posting alternatives but I wanted to give a few different options a good try. Here are my thoughts:

I lasted about 3 minutes on Bloglovin'. I remember giving it a try when it first came out a few years ago and I couldn't stand it then. It hasn't improved much. The one big positive is that it's easy to discover new content. By going into the "Popular Posts" tab at the top I quickly found 3 new blogs I wanted to follow. However, the browsing experience is clunky and lacks the quick scrollability that I loved about Google Reader. It's not even a contender. Pass.

Next I tried The Old Reader. The developers loved Google Reader prior to November 2011 and sought to create a feed reader that mimicked it as much as possible. It really is just like Google Reader before they ditched the liking and sharing options in favor of G+ silliness. The one thing I DIDN'T love about TOR is that it took well over a week to import my feeds. When I submitted the file of my feeds from Google Reader I was directed to a screen that said there were over 34,000 people ahead of me. I checked a few times over the course of the week and the number slowly dwindled until finally my feeds were imported. It does mark posts as read when you scroll past them, which I know is important to some people. It is, essentially, a vintage Google Reader experience.

I wanted to love it, you guys, I really did. But I guess I've grown used to a few more bells and whistles. It was just...ok. They do make it easy to rearrange and organize your feeds. It was fun to have access to the old liking and sharing options, though none of my friends are on there so sharing was kind of useless. It is a fine, basic replacement option but I was generally underwhelmed.

Lastly, I tried Feedly.

I didn't want to like Feedly. I'm not really sure what I had against it but when my dad told me he loved it I caved and gave it a shot. I fell in love immediately. The interface is slick and intuitive, especially for a Google Reader user of 8+ years. You can easily find new blogs by clicking that magnifying glass over on the right. There was no lag time when I uploaded my feeds. Organizing feeds is a cinch. You can toggle the auto mark-as-read scroll feature in the settings. You guys, you can pin posts from within the reader.

I'd probably be converted from the web interface alone, but the mobile app certainly doesn't hurt things. It offers a pretty darn good blog reading experience from my iPhone, which I have been lacking since switching from Android (which had a fantastic Google Reader app) to iPhone (which doesn't) a few years ago. And, let's be honest, all I really want is to be able to comfortably read news and blogs while laying in bed eating Cheetos.

In the battle of the feed readers, Feedly easily wins the trophy.

(if there was a trophy)

So, when Google Reader goes the way of all the Earth on July 1, I highly recommend you follow Freckles in April, Everyday Reading, and all your other favorite blogs on Feedly.

Did Janssen agree? Go find out!

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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Blog Love: Camp Patton

I love/adore/mildly stalk Grace. A few weeks ago whilst waiting on my doc for a thyroid follow up I started texting Grace some silly blogging related questions. She promptly responded with in-depth and thoughtful answers. Later that day I discovered that she had been dealing with a flooding crisis. Instead of typing NOT NOW KAYLA SUPER BUSY GO AWAY she stopped what she was doing and texted me back. Who even does that?

Grace does.

Five reasons you should be hustling your buns over to The Camp-

I know that "she's pretty" shouldn't be a reason but I'm putting it out there anyway.

1. She will make you laugh- Grace has the best sense of humor. Her wit is dry, sarcastic and self-deprecating without being biting. Her ability to make light of the craziness that is motherhood helps me see the ridiculousness and humor in the crap my kids put me through every day and I am able to laugh instead of losing my everloving mind.

2. She can really turn a phrase- You don't have to read much of Grace's writing to see that she's not only funny but clever. And quite the wordsmith. Every once in a while I'll read a phrase on her blog and think, "I need to remember how she worded that. That is amazing."

3. The woman can write a sponsored post- A couple weeks ago, Janssen tweeted the following:

Have you ever heard someone say they love when a blogger writes sponsored posts? Grace knows how to make sponsored posts enjoyable, engaging and authentic. Even her disclosures are awesome. I replied that bloggers should be required to take a sponsored post class from Grace. I would totally attend that class.

4. I'm pretty sure half of Grace's readership think she's their best friend- Grace is, well...gracious. She responds to comments and emails promptly and with that same self-deprecating humor that makes her blog so enjoyable. She's friendly and accessible in a way that belies how successful her blog has become. She may have Wendy's sponsoring a post but she will still totally write you back when you email her with a parenting quandry.

5. Simon Says/Julia Says- These posts alone are worth the space in your feed reader. I've never met Simon, but if/when I do I need to high-five him. Julia is 1/12 my age and already about a million times funnier than I am. Her teenage years are going to be awesome.

Hilarious and hilariouser
Now, go fall in love with Camp Patton. You'll be in great company.

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Monday, June 10, 2013

Summer Style: B&W Graphic Tees

The past few years have seen a riot of color in fashion and design. Mint, coral, neon, emerald, pastel. Never in my entire life has my closet contained so much color. Lately my brain has been pulling me back in the opposite direction- plain, clean black & white. It feels almost peaceful next to my collection of neon tops.

I love these graphic tees for summer! Perfect with denim shorts and big sunglasses.

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Sunday, June 9, 2013

Kindergarten Eve

I'm just not sure how he's not THIS anymore.

I knew my babies would grow, yet I still find myself vaguely perplexed when a fully fledged 5-year-old comes tearing into my room each morning. His eyes are blue like mine but his face shape is all his father's. It used to hint at my roundness, but in the past year or so it has lengthened, just like the rest of him. He's always been a boney little thing, but lately it's a different kind of boney. He looks stretched, sometimes a bit pinched. He's become a hearty eater, matching me bite for bite, helping for helping at most meals. Sometimes he stays at the table long after the rest of us have finished, polishing off thirds, fourths, fifths; fueling the growth that causes his ankles to stick out past the hem of pants that are, strangely, still too large in the waist.

I knew this was a very short, very precious time in our life together. A time with no alarm clocks, no agenda. Blissfully blank calendar squares that shrug at me each morning and say, "Whatever you want, you have nowhere else to be." Library story time, splash pads, frozen yogurt, naps, afternoon movies, Costco trips, couch snuggles, popcorn at 10pm because we're all still awake and, eh, why not.

I've been reveling in this time. Backstroking leisurely through it. Trying to ignore the glowing red expiration date that suddenly feels so close as to be almost menacing.

I'm glad I've recognized it for what it is while still in it: a gift. A precious, amazing gift. Endless, uninterrupted time to build him up, fill his belly-bucket with love, teach him that himself is the best thing to be.

Except, it's not so endless. We now find ourselves standing at kindergarten eve. Our late nights followed by lazy mornings will vanish in a swirl of bed times, early-morning alarms, breakfast before school and the frantic scramble for shoeshomeworkpencilsbackpack. Instead of a long, blank day stretched before us all ready to be filled up with whatever we want, he will be gone. Seven hours without my freckled sidekick.

From my maternity shoot with Baby 2

During the long, tortuous weeks of age three, I actually did some Google searches for boarding schools that might accept the monster my sweet baby had become. A few hours. weeks. months (if only!) without him sounded paradisaical. Fortunately, on the other side of three lays four. Creeping right behind that comes five and five brings sweetness, thoughtfulness, a real sense of humor. And since I now have another baby entering the dead-zone of age three, that sweet five-year-old humor is awfully nice to have around.

Sporting a noodle necklace while hiking.
I never thought I'd cry when my baby started kindergarten. I pictured myself gleefully waving goodbye on his first day then screeching out of the parking lot to go spend some quality time peeing alone.

(Although, I'll still have my 3-year-old barnacle at home, so using the bathroom alone is a total pipe dream.)

In March we found out he got into our number one school choice. When I took him to get registered and saw him walking through those halls, hands tucked carefully yet confidently in his pockets, I cried. Not a sniffling, proud mama cry either. Full-bellied tears tumbled down my cheeks while I frantically sponged at them with my sleeves, desperate that my tender-hearted, empathetic son not see me crying and associate this wonderful, amazing place with my tears. I loved school and I was filled with a sudden, overwhelming need for him to love it too. As much as I am going to miss our unhurried way of life, I am thrilled for him. His school is amazing and I know that those seven long hours away from me and his adoring younger brother are going to be magical.

Getting him registered then celebrating at Smashburger

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